We also learned several good lessons today. Embers burn a long time and should not be underestimated, and walkie-talkies are more reliable than cell phones. Kim had decided to empty out the ashes from lunch the day before in the chiminea. Problem was they were put in a paper sack and set on a pile of leaves. Yes, I know, sounds ridiculous now but that's the way it happened. It had been long enough to cook and finish hamburgers for lunch. Delicious, I must add. We decided to take a walk through to the back of the property. Sabrina was asleep so we left her lounging an a chair. As we were returning to camp from our walk, we heard Sabrina yelling for help. As I ran closer I could see her running back and forth out to the path and waving for me to come. I see a tower of smoke near the camp table as I near. I grabbed the rake as I ran by and found a burning ring of about 12' at the edge of our camp. There had been some embers in the sack of ashes from earlier that morning. They eventually burned through and ignited the sack and a pile of leaves spreading fairly quickly. A felled tree nearby was also burning but had acted as a stop for one side of a live tree. Sabrina had awakened to the smell of smoke and the fire already going but was unsure how to stop it. She worked at it a bit with a shovel but the soil was not very loose and she didn't have much luck. She tried calling me but my phone was in the truck charging. She tried calling Kim but we were out of cell coverage. The fire got our brand new camp table we had bought that morning, a bag of bird seed and a couple of tools. I worked for about 30 min making sure we had contained all the burning material into a central pile and putting out the log. We realized how close to disaster we had come and we worked on a plan for future ventures. (1) Don't put anything from the chiminea in a paperbag (duh!) being extra careful with ashes and such! (2) Keep a large pump spray with water available along with numerous gallon jugs. (3) Showing the kids how to deal with fires. Rakes work better that day than shovels. (4) No fires on windy days. This was pretty calm by any measure but it was a good wake up call.
|Firing up the new burn trough|